German Government asks people to stop using IE

Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, has the highest number of users compared to any other equivalent software. Though, having such a huge number of users isn't always such a good thing: if a vulnerability is discovered, it could potentially affect a vast amount of people. The German government isn’t happy with this, and as such, recommends users switch away from the browser.

The incident recently, regarding China and Google, led the German Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI for short) to bring to light a critical vulnerability in all versions of Internet Explorer. The flaw will, put simply, "perform reconnaissance and gain complete control over the compromised system." The BSI noted that even running Internet Explorer in Protected Mode isn't enough to stop the flaw, with the entire statement (translated from German, thanks to Google) listed below:

"In Internet Explorer, there is a critical yet unknown vulnerability. The vulnerability allows attackers to inject malicious code via a specially crafted Web page into a Windows computer to infiltrate and set up. The last week became known hacker attack on Google and other U.S. companies has probably exploited the vulnerability.

Affected are the versions 6, 7 to 8 Internet Explorer on Windows systems XP, Vista and Windows 7 Microsoft has released a security advisory in which it discusses ways of minimizing risk and is already working on a patch to close the security gap. The BSI expects that this vulnerability will be used in a short time for attacks on the Internet.

Running the Internet Explorer in ‘protected mode’, as well as disabling scripting, is more difficult to attack, but it can not completely prevented. Therefore, the BSI recommends to switch to the existence of a patch from Microsoft to an alternative browser.

Once the vulnerability has been closed, the BSI will provide information on its warning and information about public-CERT. Keep informed about the civic-CERT and the BSI warns citizens and small and medium enterprises from viruses, worms and vulnerabilities in computer applications. The expert analysis of the BSI around the clock, the security situation in the Internet and send alerts when action is needed and safety information via e-mail."

Internet Explorer has been steadily losing market share lately, mainly due to the public perception that it is not as secure as other browsers, and now with Google joining the browser game, there is simply more software to choose from. Microsoft has announced that it is working on a fix, according to Mashable, which will hopefully be released very soon.

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57 Comments

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Good on them, if I didn't have to develop for IE my job would be a whole lot easier, and we'd be able to take advantage of more modern web technologies without having to worry about backwards comparability so much. I love Germany even more than I did previously, now!

Its just a bulletin issued by people who don't even know the difference between IMAP and HTTP. Don't take them seriously.

Btw, they also warned people from using Google Wave but ofcourse nobody really published that since it's not anti-Microsoft:
http://www.heise.de/security/meldung/BSI-raet-von-Google-Wave-ab-755861.html (Only german sry)

=)

I'm not a super tech guy like you guys I'm a graphic designer- I don't care what's under the hood as long as it works which is one of the reasons I use a mac and honestly I've used all 3 browsers and I've had so many more problems with ie and it just feels slugish right now I spend most of my Internet time between firefox and chrome my wife uses camino exclusively so I have 3 browsers running all the time and never have a problem! Whereas when I had a pc and just IE it was a nightmare!

Finaly go Germany, I hope others will realise the fact "no one should ever use IE". It's a 2010 and i'm still writing CSS hacks for IE

Weird, I tried to reply to greatscot's post, but it's saying that it can't find the message even after two page refreshes... whatever.

Anyway, is IE really more secure than Firefox? I want to see some proof of the supposed most secure browser.

Sorry guys, but as a security testing company I can tell you that ALL browsers have serious security holes. IE's exploits are discovered simply because a great many mpre peope use it. That's all.

According to our research the LEAST secure browser available is Safari. - but its only used by a miniscule number of people (or is it a number of miniscule people?) And Firefox is less secure than IE.

FYI: I myself use Firefox - mostly out of habit. But I'd like to have some of the excellent features of IE8.

If anything this just means MS will step up even more with IE9.

But on topic, this is only commen sense that an old version of any software will be open to attack. Lets all use old versions of FF and see how long they last as well. But oh, that's not fair right, I mean heaven forbid we compare IE6 to FF2 or like FF1.5 on security. That never happens.

GP007 said,
I mean heaven forbid we compare IE6 to FF2 or like FF1.5 on security. That never happens.

Well, the point is that whereas almost nobody uses firefox 1.5 or 2 any more, a lot of people still use IE6 - enterprise setups and some home users who don't know any better.

I don't get what the big deal is. Current exploits hit IE6. Furthermore, to really get fully screwed, you need to visit a malicious site after having disabled Protected-mode, DEP, and UAC, all while running on an administrator account.

Oh, wait, that's like 95% of Neowin's "looook@ME, I'm so KEWL, casting my lvl 80 reg-tweak!!11" population. No wonder they're panicking.

I use Firefox.
Chrome is just unreliable (I always manage to get it to crash).
As for IE, besides being insecure, it's also bloated & slow.

+1 for Firefox :)

I actually like IE better now, than I previously used to... Nevertheless, FF is still my primary browser, and I play around with Chrome, now and then.

ADSfull said,

no Browser is as insecure as IE

Firefox too is prone to attacks..if in future firefox comes major browser, again hackers will target using FF..and government will again say stop using FF & use chrome..later chrome will jumpin...

ADSfull said,

no Browser is as insecure as IE

I guess you, and others, missed the part where IE8 with DEP on isn't hit by this problem that everyone is making a fuss about. If you're still using old and dated software like IE6, then that's not IE's problem, it's yours. Why not use an old dated version of FF like 2.0 and see how safe you are online with that as well.

Please correct the font color of the quote you have made in your post. Except for the starting "I" and mashable link, nothing can be viewed in Darkside theme.

littleneutrino said,
IE just sucks what can you say.

How so? I still don't get the hate. Firefox has become the bloatbeast browser these days, so IE can't be called the fattest browser anymore. Chrome might have half of IE's bookmarking functionality by the time they get to a 1.0 quality release--and call it 9.0 probably.


Right now there is no best browser. Of the main three, they each beat the others for particular needs. Chrome is definitely the light weight champion, but is burdened by an inconsistent UI and a lack of common sense bookmark integration that every other browser has. Firefox is the customization champion, but is burdened by being...the customization champion, as well as being married to the bizarre FOSS movement. IE is the integration champion, taking full advantage of everything Windows 7 allows it to, and continuing to be the only browser for the PC with bookmarks that can be accessed from the Start menu, a bookmark bar, and a drop-down menu depending on preference.


...honestly, would it kill Mozilla, Opera, or Google to think up live mirroring of bookmarks to the Favorites folder for clean and easy Start menu access? There isn't even a simple addon solution to achieve this.

Edited by Joshie, Jan 16 2010, 6:39am :

Joshie said,
Chrome might have half of IE's bookmarking functionality by the time they get to a 1.0 quality release--and call it 9.0 probably.
What are you talking about? IE doesn't even support bookmark synching out of the box. chrome does, by the way.

I really hope you are joking when you are picking IE over the rest of the browsers because it adds searchable bookmarks in the start menu.

Firefox has become the bloatbeast browser these days, so IE can't be called the fattest browser anymore.

There are more competition than Firefox. Chrome is much faster than IE, and this becomes critical on script-heavy sites like Facebook. It's not just a bragging point.
Chrome might have half of IE's bookmarking functionality by the time they get to a 1.0 quality release--and call it 9.0 probably.

As said above, a major reason I switched to this one was because of syncing work and home bookmarks together. It's funny you pick on Chromes quick versioning -- please mention the main differences between IE 4 and 5, or IE 5 and 6. There will be some, but not as major as in between the Chrome versions. It's just that Google very rapidly implements functionality, not because they bump the version. Chrome 4 has extensions and synchronization, not exactly small features, right? Chrome 3 had a new customizable "new tab" page, and 25% faster Javascript support, etc. Chrome 2 had Greasemonkey support and lots of basic features that made it more mature and usable. So I don't get your point here at all, ESPECIALLY not coming from an IE user having been through IE 5 -> IE 6 that looked the same, functioned the same, and sure didn't have visible rendering engine optimizations.
..honestly, would it kill Mozilla, Opera, or Google to think up live mirroring of bookmarks to the Favorites folder for clean and easy Start menu access? There isn't even a simple addon solution to achieve this

Your points seem to really boil down to this. Because IE has good integration, it's not a bad browser, despite all the other downsides. I can't really think of a worse browser when it comes to the core browsing experience.

Edited by Northgrove, Jan 16 2010, 11:49am :

Jugalator said,

There are more competition than Firefox. Chrome is much faster than IE, and this becomes critical on script-heavy sites like Facebook. It's not just a bragging point.

As said above, a major reason I switched to this one was because of syncing work and home bookmarks together. It's funny you pick on Chromes quick versioning -- please mention the main differences between IE 4 and 5, or IE 5 and 6. There will be some, but not as major as in between the Chrome versions. It's just that Google very rapidly implements functionality, not because they bump the version. Chrome 4 has extensions and synchronization, not exactly small features, right? Chrome 3 had a new customizable "new tab" page, and 25% faster Javascript support, etc. Chrome 2 had Greasemonkey support and lots of basic features that made it more mature and usable. So I don't get your point here at all, ESPECIALLY not coming from an IE user having been through IE 5 -> IE 6 that looked the same, functioned the same, and sure didn't have visible rendering engine optimizations.

Your points seem to really boil down to this. Because IE has good integration, it's not a bad browser, despite all the other downsides. I can't really think of a worse browser when it comes to the core browsing experience.

\

Chrome is fastest? lol... before or after it crashes? then recovers into an empty page? over all in long term use, I find IE8 to be the fastest.

undu said,
I really hope you are joking when you are picking IE over the rest of the browsers because it adds searchable bookmarks in the start menu.
Wow, holy selective vision batman!

No where in his post is he "picking IE". In one sentence he even said each browser has it's own advantages and disadvantages. At no point does he say he prefers IE.

undu said,
What are you talking about? IE doesn't even support bookmark synching out of the box. chrome does, by the way.

IE might not be able to sync bookmarks without an addon, but Chrome has NO possible way of allowing bookmark access from anything other than a whole separate minimalist-unfriendly bookmark toolbar. It might also be the only desktop browser in the last ten years not to allow customizing which buttons are on your toolbar (so that one could, for example, have a button for bookmarks like every other browser for the past ten years has had).

I'm not saying this will determine the winner of the browser war, just that my own personal browsing experience places high priority on quick but unobtrusive access to my bookmarks. Just like many--MANY--people ignore everything lacking in Firefox because of its extensions library alone. We all have our habits, and it just plain baffles me that Google, of all brands, would have such a locked down browsing experience.

Beastage said,
\

Chrome is fastest? lol... before or after it crashes? then recovers into an empty page? over all in long term use, I find IE8 to be the fastest.

Never had a single crash with Chrome 3. But I guess you haven't even tried it, just whining anyways.

Btw, by the time FF has loaded, you would already have had time to surf to 5 sites with Chrome. Or 20 times if FF got the superb idea to update and restart.

himanshu333 said,

No they should use Firefox!

No, people should be using links on a text-based linux distro using the "-g svga" command line options.

n_K said,

No, people should be using links on a text-based linux distro using the "-g svga" command line options.

Oh no, I used links without the '-g svga' option. Am I at risk? ;)

Tekkerson said,
+1 for chrome :D

Agreed. I suppose the new browser war will be between Firefox and Chrome... if people can be educated enough to think about what browser they're using. (Although I must admit Opera 10.5 looks promising... but I still prefer Chrome.)